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The moderately dry climate was marked during the vegetative season by alternating hot and cold spells. Thus the maturation, like all the phases – budburst, flowering and veraison – started slowly and finished in optimal climatic conditions. A beautiful balance on the palate associating fullness and freshness characterized by superb aromas of fruit in white as well as red, 2010 is a great classic.
After a relatively slow budburst, flowering spread over a three week period. Low temperatures in May and early June provoked flower abortion in numerous areas, especially for the whites. The last ten days of June and all of July were particularly hot (2°C above normal) which permitted tardy plants to catch up time to the closing of the grape bunch. Then once again, a cold spell interspaced with some fair weather days arrived in August and September which made the veraison long and marked by a certain heterogeneity. Rainfall was down 15% throughout the vegetative period. An episode of hail affected part of the Châteaumeillant vineyard; the other Centre-Loire vineyards did not suffer any significant damage.
Pressure from cryptogamic diseases was less than in previous years. Mildew appeared late while odium was a bit more virulent. The relative dryness in the deep soil maintained the healthy state and continued right up to the harvest. Concern was more focused on diseases of the wood (esca, black dead arm) symptoms of which were seen in high proportions (as much as 15% of the plants affected in certain parcels).
Slow in the first phase, maturation gradually accelerated thanks to gentle rain showers and periods of warmer than usual temperatures. The last week was revealed to be of capital importance for the quality of the vintage. In particular, the slightly high acidities were rebalanced by the loss in malic acid while the impressive increase in sugar levels exceeded winemakers’ hopes. The warm nights and sunny days, warm but not excessively hot, refined the maturity of the aromas.
The majority of vineyards (Sancerre, Pouilly, Coteaux du Giennois, Châteaumeillant) opened the harvest on 27 September. Reuilly and Quincy began on 20 September and Menetou-Salon started on 29 September. The harvest reflected the differences in the flowering dates and most harvesting was finished on 15 October with the very last finishing on 19 October. Harvesting was carried out under sunny skies except for the heavy rain of 4 October which allowed the maturation of late parcels. In general, the reds where picked in the first half of the harvest except for some which obtained very good results by delaying picking until the end and employing rigorous sorting.
The whites exhale all the richness and aromatic finesse of sauvignon according to its origins (soil type, exposure). The astonishing fruitiness of the musts can be seen in the wines: exotic fruits (passion, mango), gun flint, boxwood and other vegetal nuances (rhubarb, pea, asparagus). Ample and well balanced. Supported by a good vivacity, they affirm a presence, firmness and a remarkable length on the palate. Their aging potential is certain and many will only obtain their full expression after 12 to 18 months of aging.
The reds are seductive by their intense fruitiness (strawberry, raspberry, black currant, blackberry). On the mouth, the attack is firm. Tannins are austere, sometimes vigorous, well supported by fatness, conferring solidity and length to the structure. The malolactic fermentation will bring roundness. More elegant than powerful, they will be ready rather soon (end of 2011) but the denser cuvees will also be suitable for additional bottle aging.